Getting started with home brew:
Tip for easy sterilization, keep a spray bottle of sterilizer and spray all equipment, surfaces, hands, etc.
Buy the same type of beer you are used to drinking, if your Light commercial beer drinker try a Lager, if you like a bitter beer try the new West Coast Pale Ale. If your beer is too strong you can always add water to it to lighten it up.
My beer taste off or peculiar:
Very often you've simply bought a different type of beer than you are used to (ie: you drink light or lager and bought ale). Well great I'll drink it! Give it away or bring it into the store with your receipt and we'll exchange it for a new kit.
There is also the chance that you have a germ, maybe something wasn't clean. Wine can handle handling better, beer is very sensitive to germs, air, everything b/c it's only 5%.
So what do you do? You can improve the taste slightly by filtering and carbonating, but you may just have
to throw it out.
How avoid this in the future? Cleanliness is godliness in everything, especially beer making, it will not handle any miss handling.
My beer didn't ferment:
Beer can totally ferment in 18-24 hours in warm to humid tempuratures, just because you didn't see the bubbles doesn't mean it's not fermented. Standard it takes 3-7 days, keeping it at 78* will get it done in three.
My bottles exploded:
Put them in the fridge and drink them in a hurry. To avoid this in future use a hydrometer to be sure all original sugar is fermented before bottling, then add priming sugar.
My beer is flat:
The beer was fully fermented but you didn't add enough priming sugar. The only fix is to pour back into the pail, add priming sugar and rebottle or just drink flat beer.